Are you a NESTEA traveller?

Sometimes, there’s an advantage to having YouTube ads turned on. You get to discover interesting commercials.

Like this Nestea ad… I was listening to one of my YouTube playlists while working when this came on before one of the songs. Of course, being a Imagine Dragons, it caught my attention and I immediately switched tabs.

Snipping Tool

Did you ever need to get a very quick screenshot of that “Eureka!” text during your research or those error messages that keep popping up on your screen? I’m sure you did. Here’s a little tidbit that a colleague of mine shared with me.

Apparently, Windows 7 has this humble little software already installed and can be found in the accessories. Or if you search for it using the Windows Start Menu search bar. What this tool does is allow you to quickly create a snapshot (or part of it) of your active screen.

There are four ways to “snip” your screenshot (shown above). It’s usually defaulted to the second one. But I imagine that the free-form snip could be handy when trying to snap only a particular screen. There are also some general options.

This is a very useful little tool for when you need to quickly capture a screenshot of an error messages (to send to technical support), specific texts or paragraphs from a PDF document, or important messages, such as booking confirmation, ticket purchases, online shopping, etc.

Once you have your snapshot, you can save it, copy the image, e-mail it (directly or as an attachment), write/draw something on it with different pen colors, highlight parts of the image, or erase your edits.

The Most Random Trivia Ever

I was working late again the other night (perhaps I shouldn’t use the word “again” to describe my daily work habits, but… oh well) and asked my colleagues (who also happened to stay late yesterday) what the country abbreviation for Switzerland was (you know, that two-letter abbreviation for countries, such as PH for the Philippines, US for the U.S., UK for the U.K., and CN for China). Well, she told me it was CH and another colleague agreed with her and reminded me why their currency, Swiss Francs, was abbreviated to “CHF.”

Out of curiosity, I Google why Switzerland had such a country symbol when the letters don’t appear in the country’s name. Well, here’s what I found (I laughed when I saw the name of the inquirer). This article is from Straight Dope and its quite old but who cares?

Well, the story goes that following a religious civil war in 1848, a new constitution was written and the Swiss had to pick an official name for the country. Because of the multilingual nature of the country, they wanted to keep it neutral and keep everyone happy. So they chose Latin and called the country Confoederatio Helvetica, or CH for short, which stands for the confederation of the Helvetians.

So there you go. Quite some random trivia here. All I really wanted to show was the coincidence between my name and the one that Straight Dope as the inquirer. Hehe.

The name also survives in the typeface Helvetica, created by the Swiss type foundry Haas in the 1950s and since ripped off by Microsoft and renamed Arial. Apple Computers has their own knockoff of the Helvetica font, appropriately named Geneva.

Discover the Blogosphere, Part 4

Now that you know about the blogosphere (Discover the Blogosphere, Part 1 and Discover the Blogosphere, Part 2) and some of the people that are members of this great community (Discover the Blogosphere, Part 3), you can become part of it, too. It doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t even have to post everyday. Just settle on a fixed schedule and start working on your blog content.

Personal tips:

  1. Choose a topic for your blog, or find your niche. Do you want to blog about your local community events? About films and movies? About your hobby? Find out what generates the most sparks for your inner writer and settle on it. For me, I like blogging about music, movies, and PC/video games, with the occasional odds and ends.
  2. Find a good site that will become your new virtual home. Needless to say I recommend WordPress because it’s a great place and the community is filled with a myriad writers that post the most interesting topics.
  3. Take care of your blog. Don’t let it fall into disuse and neglect (like I did a couple of years ago). Even if you’re blogging for yourself, it reflects how much you respect yourself and how disciplined you are (something I’m recently relearning).
  4. Pick an interesting theme that fits your topic, personality, and writing style.
  5. Enjoy! Whether you blog because it’s your source of living or because you just like to write, never forget to enjoy what you’re doing. It shouldn’t come out as a hassle.

You can also head on over here for a little bit more professional tips on blogging. And remember to visit the Codex for some help now and then.

Write? What?!?

But why blog in the first place, you ask me? You say you’re not a writer, a photographer, or a video game enthusiast. You don’t have what it takes to be a blogger. You don’t to be any of those things. Not all blogs have to be walls of texts. If you’re passionate about something – be it your work or your cat/dog – writing about it (or posting photos with your comments) will come naturally. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be complicated and professional looking. There are lots of people who blog about their daily house life and, if you believe it, garner lots of followers.

People blog about their travels and adventures. If you only travel frequently but would like to write about it, then write about your plans on traveling. On the occasion that you do travel, then write lots and lots of things about it.

Do you know Mishka the Talking Husky? Her owners have created a sort of video blog (a vlog!) on YouTube recording the life of this cute husky. Some videos are just one or two minutes long (probably there just to attract subscribers), but you know what? Mishka’s channel has hundreds of thousands of followers and her videos generate a lot of views.

You can even blog about your toe nails if you want. =D Hmm… Wonder if there’s a toe nail blog somewhere? (I tried looking but all I could see were toenail art blogs. LOL!)

The Blogger’s Code of Conduct

The Blogger’s Code of Conduct is a proposal by Tim O’Reilly for bloggers to enforce civility on their blogs by being civil themselves and moderating comments on their blog. The code was proposed due to threats made to blogger Kathy Sierra. — from Wikipedia

Think of it as like the Pirates’ Code in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. It’s a guideline for bloggers in order to practice acceptable behavior.

  1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
  2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
  3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
  4. Ignore the trolls.
  5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
  6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
  7. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.

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Discover The Blogosphere, Part 3

Today, I want to further share with you the wonderful world of blogs. To start with, I want to thank Brandon, author of music. unrenowned., for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. If you want to keep updated on various bands and music genres, his blog is the place to be.

Honestly? I didn’t know what he was talking about when he said he’d nominated me. So I meandered over to his blog and find out about it. Thing is, I never really surfed around WordPress or other blog sites before. I mean, sure, I’ve clicked on a featured article or two but never really spent a lot of time “blog-hopping.” So imagine how humbled I was when I was nominated for the award. The result? Well… after reading the rules, I had to scramble! You’ll see why. 😉

The Versatile Blogger Award

To fully accept the award, there are a few rules that follow:

1. Thank the person who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post.

2. Pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know that you included them in your blog post.

3. List 7 things about yourself.

My list of newly discovered wonderful blogs (after a several days of panicking around =D), some of which have gone to my blogroll so I will remember to visit them again often.

  1. hollyjb: My Year in Belgium – A blogger’s journey in Europe and what she discovers there.
  2. Adventures on the Road: From one time zone to the next – Mobile event marketing? I want this job!
  3. Arctic Dream: Our Family’s One-Year Adventure Living on an Arctic Island – A family’s life in an Arctic island with lots of pretty pictures.
  4. Windswept Words: fact, fiction, and all the fantastical places in between – More reading for us travel nutters. Hehehe…
  5. Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations – A good source for fellow Sci-fi fans (regular book reviews!)
  6. The Extinction Protocol: 2012 and beyond – Updates on current events (especially natural calamities).
  7. The Urban Hippie – Enjoy the world of wedding and life photography through the eyes (or is that lens) of Lauren. Come back every Monday for “Five Senses Monday.”
  8. Beetles in the Bush – For those who appreciate our six-legged friends in the nature.
  9. A Soul’s Walk – Feel like reading poetry?
  10. Cassie Behle: Redefining life’s perceptions – A little sarcasm never hurt nobody.
  11. A Constant Visual Feast: “Andrew at the Cinema” – Movie and TV series reviews and a lot more!
  12. Two Cranky Guys – If you want refined but humorous reviews of movies, this is a good blog to visit regularly.
  13. The Password is Swordfish – Another site for movie reviews.
  14. A Pen, A Marker and Some Correction Fluid: 365 days of illustration by Pat Henzy – Cool and outright funny drawings – interpretation of life’s complexities.
  15. Allen’s Zoo – Artwork by Allen Capoferri.

As you can see, I love reading about other people’s travels. It gives me lots of ideas on how to spend my own travels. So far, all I’ve done is look at my friends’ travel escapades on Facebook. I’m changing that with these newly discovered blogs. I also happen to have a very broad range of interests as well; from watching all the good movies to appreciating people’s skill with cameras to poetry (yes, I use to write poems but the creative juices are in need of some (a lot of!) recharging).

Now some things you may not know about me:

  1. I love to listen to different types of songs and music. There is theoretically no limit to my taste and curiosity. Depending on my mood, I could be listening to rock one day and move on to pop. Or I could be listening to some R&B to help me relax and then switch on to techno/electronica to set the mood for working non-stop for a few hours. I even listen to movie and video game OSTs (scores and background music). Perhaps my weirdest song choice ever is Omnis Mundis Creatura by Helium Vola (I blogged about this a while back).
  2. I love going to the beach (an offshoot of my like for traveling or maybe vice-versa?). And while I don’t have the body of a Greek god, I don’t care. I love to swim and to just relax.
  3. I hate inefficiency and complete, utter incompetence. Can’t stand people who are so overly dependent on somebody else they can’t even seem to move an inch without any help whatsoever. This stems from my optimistic opinion that everyone is smart and can learn to be a little bit more independent and so help in stabilizing our social interdependence.
  4. I’m a half-breed sci-fi fan and a full-breed fantasy nutter. Meaning, I enjoy watching sci-fi movies (and the occasional games – Starcraft, anyone?) but find myself struggling to read the books (maybe it’s all the techie jargons that I don’t understand sometimes). I am, however, nuts about the fantasy genre. I played Magic: The Gathering and Warcraft, watched Lord of the Rings, and even think I can come up with my own fantasy series (bordering on delusional here ;-p)!
  5.  I’m a perfectionist but I’ve been sprinkled with lots of laziness dust over the years. However, in times when I do shake off some of those dust, I find myself to be working non-stop on whatever’s caught my attention at the time (like this here series of blogs).
  6. I get writer’s block a lot. It’s hard when you’re work entails a lot of writing and you have to write again for your blog. That’s why I fill most of my blogs with images and videos. It’s a shortcut for me to convey what it is I’m trying to say. On some occasion,s I get really inspired and write a wall of texts and sometimes forget to add in a few pretty pictures to lighten it up for the reader.
  7. I started this blog with the purpose of using it as a personal musing (and maybe ranting) site. The name then was different. However, I changed it to the current name and set up because of the evolution of the site. So it reflects a little bit about my life, in general.


My Technorati claim: SJD3AXEESTUP

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is MINE.

My blog is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.


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Discover the Blogosphere, Part 2

What is a blog, you ask?

The term comes from the combination of web and log, or web log.

“The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The short form, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999. Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used “blog” as both a noun and verb (“to blog,” meaning “to edit one’s weblog or to post to one’s weblog”) and devised the term “blogger” in connection with Pyra Labs’ Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms.” — from Wikipedia

Justin Hall

Blogs may contain “diary-type commentary and links to articles on other Web sites.” They also differ in type; from the personal blog to the political blog, and can focus on one specific subject or a wide variety of topics.

Before the advent of blogs, digital communities appeared in the form of e-mail distribution lists, bulletin board systems, and forums. The earliest blogs were online diaries, containing the personal accounts of the bloggers’ lives. Justin Hall was recognized by the New York Times magazine as the “founding father of personal blogging,” having started blogging as a college sophomore student in 1994. Sadly though, he retired from blogging in 2005.

Today, blogs take on different forms. From the personal blogs to the corporate or brand blogs to the political blogs, the blogosphere has grown to a complex, interconnected web of writers. It used to be that you needed to work for a newspaper or a magazine in order showcase your writing; there is no more need for that. Just create your own blog and write away.

The impact of blogs is certainly huge. Political blogs can be breaking, changing, and shaping to the political world. Just Google about the events in 2002 concerning U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and you’ll know how powerful blogs have become. Fashionistas blog about the latest trends and avid followers gobble up the newest designs and blog about it themselves. Gossip blogs talk celebrity and policial rumors. Gaming blogs spread news about the latest PC and video game tips, strategies, and other goodies. Corporate blogs are used by companies in order to promote their brands and products. The blogging community has literally blurred the difference and semi-merged with mass media.

Definition of a blog

WordPress’s Codex on Introduction to Blogging explains in details what a blog is, provides a general outline, and talks about things needed to start blogging. The Codex lists five basic elements that a blog usually contains:

  • A main content area with articles listed chronologically, newest on top. Often, the articles are organized into categories.
  • An archive of older articles.
  • A way for people to leave comments about the articles.
  • A list of links to other related sites, sometimes called a “blogroll”.
  • One or more “feeds” like RSS, Atom or RDF files.

With these five elements, a blog is born. Of course, it’s up to the author and owner of the blog to help it grow and sustain its life.

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Discover The Blogosphere, Part 1

Did you know?

The term “blogosphere” was coined on September 10, 1999 by Brad Graham, a theater publicist, as a joke. It was re-coined in 2002 by William Quick, a science fiction author. Since its inception, the term has been incorporated in mainstream media. It has been reported that several media outlets even use the blogosphere as a gauge of the public’s opinion.

From less than 100 blogs before 1999 to today’s millions, the community of bloggers is “no longer an upstart community, now with influence on mainstream narratives firmly entrenched, with bloggers still searching for the next steps forward.” (2010 State of the Blogosphere by Technorati).

Source: Discover Magazine

The World of the Blogosphere

It’s interesting to see that blogging is gaining more recognition and contributors year-on-year. It’s also somewhat unsurprising that almost half the bloggers in the world are based in the U.S. What I’d like to see in the coming years is a slow balancing of the distribution of bloggers worldwide. While I don’t doubt that Americans will continue to have the biggest share of the pie, I’d like more representation from other parts of the globe, particularly APAC and South America. I firmly believe people from those regions have an infinite amount of topics to blog about, just with their culture and tourist spots alone.

Source: Technorati

Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere survey garnered 7,200 respondents in 2010. It goes to show that the location of the most numerous respondents indicates where the most active bloggers are based, i.e., the United States. Combined with Canada and Mexico, that makes North America’s share at 56%, while the rest of the world is only at 44%!

This year’s survey appears to have ended already (I tried one of the links provided but I’m being directed to an error page) and the results are supposed to come out on November 7.

The Writers

According to Technorati, bloggers can be classified into four types: hobbyists, part-timers, self-employeds, and corporates. Hobbyists blog for fun and almost always don’t earn income from their blogs, while the part-timers spend some of their time to blog in order to earn a little something extra on the side. The self-employeds are a cross between all three blogs – they blog full time or occasionally often about their own business. Corporates blog full time about their company, sometimes earning a salary for their trouble.

However, these are types are just the typical categorization survey’s often employ. Blogs are also defined by their content. A number of niches have developed for the blogosphere that focus on particular genres: news, entertainment, fashion, food, gossip, music, photography, and other things. Blogs like Huffington Post and Perez Hilton gained so much popularity and traffic that they are competing with mainstream media. Other blogs only appeal to certain readers but are for all readers (at least in my opinion) because they deal with pressing concerns of our world, such as Stephen Leahy.

In short, whatever interests you, whenever you want to know about something, however you want to spend your free time – a blog’s sure written something for you.

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I’m Awake and I’m Hungry

Specifically for cake!